BlueBird Aero Systems has won a $3 million contract to supply SpyLite mini unmanned air systems to the Chilean army, with the Israeli manufacturer to complete the work within five months.
Chile had been assessing the SpyLite system in competition with Elbit Systems' Skylark I LE. Industry sources late last year said that the requirement was expected to be for an initial six systems, plus a "great number" in follow-on orders.
In a statement, BlueBird says its candidate was chosen after "surpassing competing systems in both performance and price levels". The company notes that its design has been in operational use with the Israeli defence ministry since 2006, and has also accumulated thousands of operational flight hours in the service of several international customers.
With a 4h-plus flight endurance, a communication range of over 27nm (50km), the SpyLite is designed to provide ground forces with covert "over-the-hill" or extended-range visual intelligence, supplying GPS-marked imagery to a ground station. Recovery is made using a parachute and airbag.
"The system delivers autonomous ease of use and high reliability, providing a very versatile and stable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform," says BlueBird chief executive Ronen Nadir. Other applications could include supporting peacekeeping, security and disaster management tasks.